Go Back
French Lentil Chili | In Jennie's Kitchen

French Lentil Chili

Be sure to pick through your lentils, and discard any pebbles or damaged ones. I like using French lentils because they retain their shape, and have a heartier flavor than green and red lentils. Stirring in a little red wine vinaigrette at the end pulls all the flavors together, and adds a layer of brightness to the chili. You can swap in balsamic vinegar if you like.
5 from 1 vote
Servings 4 to 6


  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Small yellow onion chopped
  • Garlic clove chopped fine
  • 2 tablespoons concentrated tomato paste
  • 14 ounce jar tomato puree
  • 1 cup 195 grams French lentils
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt plus more to taste
  • 1 ½ teaspoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 5 sprigs fresh thyme leaves only (discard stems)
  • Handful fresh cilantro chopped
  • 2 tablespoons Vinaigrette Dressing recipe here


  • Add a swirl of oil to a heavy bottomed 4-quart pan or pot. Heat over medium flame until shimmering.
  • Add the onions, and sauté until golden and slightly tender. Add the garlic, tomato paste, and tomato puree. Give it a good stir. Stir in the lentils, salt, paprika, cumin, thyme, and half the cilantro. Add 1 cup of water, and bring to a boil over medium-high.
  • Reduce to a simmer, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the lentils are tender, about an hour, adding more water (1/4 cup at a time), as needed. The cooking time and amount of water will vary depending on the age of the lentils (i.e. how much they need to be hydrated).
  • To serve, stir the vinaigrette into the pot. Ladle the chili into deep bowls. Garnish with remaining cilantro, and enjoy!